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Two hours after play ends, Stuart Broad dropped retirement news

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England great Stuart Broad has announced his retirement from all cricket, describing his career as “a wonderful ride”.

Broad said he made the snap decision at the end of play on Day 2 and told captain Ben Stokes on Friday before dropping the bomb on his team on Saturday ahead of Day 3 of the Fifth Ashes Test at The Oval.

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Australia will welcome the distraction of Broad’s big announcement after being blasted to all corners of the ground as England reached 9/389 at stumps.

The 37-year-old seamer, the fifth most successful bowler in Test history, with 602 wickets, told Sky Sports after stumps on the third day: “Tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday will be my last game of cricket.

“It has been a wonderful ride and a huge privilege to wear the Nottinghamshire and England badge as much as I have.”

Broad, the son of former England opening batsman Chris Broad, added: “It’s been such a wonderful series to be a part of and I’ve always wanted to finish it on top. This series feels like one of the most enjoyable and entertaining I’ve been a part of.

“(I decided) at about 8.30 last night (two hours after the day’s play ended). I’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks but England v Australia has always been the pinnacle for me. I’ve loved the battles with Australia I’ve had personally and as a team.

“I’ve got a love affair with Ashes cricket and I think I wanted my last bat and bowl to be in the Ashes.

“I told Stokesy last night and told the changing room this morning and to be honest, it felt the right time. I didn’t want friends or teammates at Nottinghamshire to see things that might come out so I prefer to just say it and give it a good crack for the last Australia innings.”

Broad, appearing in his 167th and final Test, made his debut in December 2007 against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

He has been half of one of Test cricket’s most durable partnerships alongside fellow veteran fast bowler Jimmy Anderson.

He took an astounding 8-15 on his Trent Bridge home ground in Nottingham when, leading the attack in the absence of the injured Anderson, he sparked an Australia collapse to 60 all out during England’s 2015 Ashes triumph.

By then he was already a public enemy in Australia for his refusal to leave the crease after edging to slip in an Ashes clash on the same ground two years earlier, only for umpire Aleem Dar to rule in his favour.

Broad was two not out at stumps on the third day in England’s second innings with the hosts now 377 runs ahead as they push for a series-levelling win.

It would be a sweet way to go out.

“It’s been awesome,” he said.

“I don’t think I will leave the game with any regrets. I will give it a red-hot go over the next couple of days.”

Broad, who on Friday became the first Englishman to take 150 Test wickets against Australia, made his name in Ashes cricket with a return of 5-37 at The Oval in 2009.

And the most spectacular bowling performance of a Test career littered with dramatic wicket-taking bursts came when he took a remarkable 8-15 against Australia at his Trent Bridge home ground eight years ago.

Speaking on Sky Sports, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting hailed Broad as “the ultimate Ashes warrior”.

“I am a believer in judging players on longevity and maintaining such high standards at the absolute highest level. He has played 25 consecutive Ashes Tests at home, which is unbelievable in itself,” Ponting said.

“We talk about Ben Stokes being the ultimate warrior but Broad is the ultimate Ashes warrior. All of his best cricket has been played in Ashes series.

“People’s names and reputations are forged in what they are able to achieve in Ashes series and he can be mightily proud of what he has achieved.

“He will be remembered for how good he was in his last series. It is about the perfect time to go.”

Aussie icon Glenn McGrath also said: “He loves the big moments, he loves the pressure and that is the sign of a true champion.

“He has been incredible for England for a long, long time.”

Broad he said he hoped cricket-lovers would remember him for his will to win, as much as his talent.

“I would say every day I’ve pulled on a Nottinghamshire shirt or an England shirt, I’ve given my heart and soul,” he said.

“I can’t think there’ll be too many cricket fans out there who would think I’ve slacked off for a moment.”

At stumps on Sunday morning, Broad was batting alongside Anderson, the only non-spinner to have taken more Test wickets than his longstanding teammate, with 690.

Although several years older than Broad, the Lancashire swing bowler — 41 on Sunday — has insisted he has no plans to retire.

— with AFP

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